What is an International Driving Permit or License?
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by one hundred forty-one countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
On the other hand, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Malta?
An international (foreign) license can be used in Malta for 12 months. However, you will have to have a valid International Driver’s Permit alongside it, which is only recognized for one year in Malta. If your driver’s license is in a foreign language, an IDP can be used as a translation of your license and as an identification document while traveling
How do you apply for an IDP in Malta?
You can apply for an IDP in Malta through our website.
How long does it take to get an IDP in Malta?
A printed IDP can be delivered to your doorstep, with the estimated delivery date varying between 2-30 days, depending on the selected delivery method.
A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your inbox. Alternatively, if you want a faster processing time, you can choose an Express Order, in which you will receive your IDP in twenty minutes.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Malta
Functionality as an ID
As well as being a travel document, an IDP also serves as an identification document. This especially comes in handy should you wish to keep your passport under lock and key for security reasons.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering driver information on your license during a traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that policemen can quickly note your details and make the traffic stop as quick as possible.
Car rental companies
Foreign companies may be reluctant to hire out vehicles to foreigners without an International Driving Permit. Almost all international and domestic car rental companies recognize an IDP as it is recognized as a valid driving permit by the United Nations.
Laws requiring an IDP
You can use an international license from a foreign country in Malta for 12 months. However, it would help if you had a valid IDP alongside it. Since Malta was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949, it accepts a validity period of 1 year for an international driving permit subject to your original license remaining valid.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Malta
Short-term visitors vs. residents
Short-term visitors will find it beneficial to use their original license and an IDP, while a long-term stay will call for getting a Maltese driving license. Traffic stops will take significantly longer if you have a foreign license, even if you hold an International Driving License.
When should I get a Maltese Driver’s Licence?
Malta was contracted to the Geneva Convention on Motor Traffic in 1949. You can use an IDP for a maximum of 1 year before being required to renew your IDP or get a domestic Maltese driving license.
How to get a Maltese driver’s license
Any international driver from another member state of the EU or EEA, Switzerland, Australia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), or the United Kingdom (UK) is entitled to exchange their license for a domestic driver’s license after residence in Malta. You must have resided in Malta for at least 185 days before applying. You will have to fill out and submit the appropriate DRV form, submit a passport-sized colored photograph, a medical certificate, evidence of residence in Malta, a valid original driving license, a confirmation of your driving license by an authorized body in your country, and special remarks by an authorized body. Letters from educational institutes will do as proof of residence for international students.
If you are not from the selected countries listed above, you will have to go for a Maltese driver’s license the hard way. The standard procedure is that you get a driving instructor, get a learner’s permit, apply and sit for the theory test, and apply and sit for the practical test. After which, you will be granted a probationary license. You can receive a full driving license after three years if you have no penalty points on your probationary license or if the penalty points are less than 12.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Malta
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your IDP through our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
A valid driving license must be shown if requested since an IDP is not a standalone driving permit. Your license must be renewed if it expires while you are abroad.
Car Rental in Malta
Requirements for car rental
You are required to have a minimum age of 21 and should have had a driver’s license for two years to be eligible to rent a car in Malta. It would be best if you were below the age of 70. Almost all car rental companies will require a credit card in the driver’s name. You can contact the rental company directly if you want to pay by cash or debit card. However, it will be a laborious process.
Deposit and costs for car rental
You can expect the rental costs to be from €10.00 to €30.00 per day, depending on the vehicle you hire. A week’s rental should cost a little over €120.00 on average. You must place a deposit that can be collected when you return the vehicle. The deposit may be €200 to €1,000, depending on the type of car.
The insurance cover that rental cars require will vary from agency to agency. In addition to third-party insurance, you will also be required to Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Damage Waiver (TDW). Third-party insurance ensures that your insurance covers damage to other persons, vehicles, animals, or property. Most insurance covers offered by car rental agencies in Malta will not provide full coverage, which means that you will bear excess costs in case of an accident.
The crime rate in Malta is relatively low for a country in the EU; however, it is still wise to get travel and car insurance when traveling there. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are:
Unlimited hospital expenses
Personal item coverage
Rental car excess
Funeral costs (in case of an extreme situation)
Driving and Safety in Malta
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
The Maltese government is very systematic in its driving license regulation. It provides an up-to-date Highway Code on its website and can be downloaded at https://www.gov.mt/en/Life%20Events/Documents/Getting%20a%20Driving%20License/Highway%20Code.pdf. You will also be able to get a copy of the highway code from a driving school or the Land Transport Directorate.
Overtaking on Maltese roads
You are advised to only overtake from the right-hand side as long as there have been no signs signifying otherwise. You must check your mirrors, judge the speed correctly and make sure that the lane ahead is sufficiently clear for you to enter back into the lane. You cannot cut in on the vehicle that you are overtaking. Overtaking during nighttime or with poor visibility should be undertaken with extra vigilance.
Turning and right of way on Maltese roads
Drivers of the main road have priority over a lane coming into the main road. On equal roads, vehicles going straight or turning left have the right of way, which means that drivers turning right to have to wait until there’s a gap in traffic to do so.
You should slow down before junctions that don’t have signs or traffic lights. In Malta, you must go slow enough to stop at a junction if you have to give way to a motorist coming on the other road.
If you are entering a roundabout, you have to give way to vehicles already in the roundabout. You must also pay attention to the speed at which the traffic is moving and the signal lights used by the vehicles in the roundabout when entering one.
Speed limits on Maltese roads
Since Malta doesn’t have a network of motorways, the speed limits are quite low compared to other European countries. You are only allowed drive vehicles at 50 km/h in urban and built-up areas and 80 km/h on rural roads. Speed traps automatically notify your rental car company, and the company will charge a processing fee for any speeding ticket you incur. The fine for going below 15 km/h over the speed limit is €34.94, and the penalty for going above 15 km/h over the speed limit is €74.94.
Tips for driving in Malta
You need to be 18 or older to drive in Malta
If you park on double yellow lines, your vehicle can be impounded
Wearing a seat belt is compulsory for the driver and the passenger in the front
Petrol pumps may not always accept credit cards, so make sure you have some cash
The horn is prohibited in residential zones between 11 pm and 6 am
You cannot use a mobile device while driving
Switching your headlights on through a tunnel, even during daylight hours, is recommended
Vehicles going uphill should give way to vehicles going downhill
Drinking and driving
When driving in Malta, you can have a blood-alcohol level of 0.8 grams per liter. You will be given a breath test in case of a severe motor traffic violation or an accident. You can have your license suspended for 6 to 12 months and fined €1,200 to €2,329 if caught driving under the influence. You can also be imprisoned for 3 to 6 months. The Maltese government has proposed a 0.5 gram per liter limit with a 0.2 gram per liter limit for novices and professionals as in other European countries. However, this law has not been put into effect as yet.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Malta
Hagar Qim and Mnajdra
Prehistoric buildings dating back to 3,600 BC called the temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra have been preserved on the southern coast of Malta. They are perched on top of a cliff that overlooks the islet of Filfla. Hagar Qim is comprised of a series of chambers that have an oval shape. They have no uniform arrangement and differ from other Maltese temples. The Mnajdra is much more elaborate and consists of three temples placed side by side. The scenic views of the sea while exploring these incredible ruins are an experience you shouldn’t miss on your visit.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral is situated in Malta’s capital city of Valletta. While the exterior of this cathedral can seem forbidding and resembles a fort, the interior is gorgeous and brimming with priceless works of art. One of the building’s most famous art pieces is the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist as envisioned by Caravaggio. The cathedral was commissioned in 1572 as a church for the noble order of the Knights of St. John.
This ancient walled city of Malta was continually developed from 700 BC to the 16th century. The Phoenicians initially built it and steadily grew through trade and productivity. Its consequent Arab and Norman rulers added higher fortifications to the city. It acted as a seat of power for all that controlled it for over 2,000 years. The city’s influence only waned after the Knights Hospitaller conquered it. Many of the old aristocracy palazzos are being built back up now, and you can get a glimpse of the splendor of the city’s glory at its height. This incredible place only has 300 inhabitants left and is a must-see for anyone visiting Malta.
Are you required to have an International Driving Permit in Malta?
Having an IDP to drive in Malta is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Malta?
Since Malta was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949, you may use your IDP for one year before renewing it.
How long will transferring my license to a Maltese license take?
If there are no complications and you have a valid foreign driving license, the process should take no longer than two weeks.
On which side do you drive in Malta?
Motorists drive on the left side of the road in Malta.